Former Disney CEO Bob Iger is taking a victory lap as he officially leaves the company he led to stratospheric growth and profits.  During an interview with CNBC this week, Iger said he believes Disney and Apple would have merged into one company. 

He made it clear that he never directly spoke to Steve Jobs about specifics of a merger before Jobs died in 2011. Still, he noted that Jobs was so passionate about the Disney brand and that concept of combining “great technology” with “great creativity” that it would have eventually happened. 

Here’s part of what Iger told CNBC. 

“The intersection — one side liberal arts, one side technology, that’s what made his heart sing. I’m pretty convinced we would have had that discussion. I think we would have gotten there.”

Iger’s comments this week echo what he wrote in his 2019 memoir on the topic, saying, “if Steve were still alive, we would have combined our companies, or at least discussed the possibility very seriously.”

Iger and Jobs did not get off to a good start on their professional relationship, but the bond between the two grew when Disney acquired Pixar, the company Jobs co-founded and ran after being ousted by Apple.  Through that transaction, Jobs became Disney’s largest individual shareholder and a board member of Disney, which allowed him to be part of many of Disney’s big decisions during Iger’s run as CEO. 

Jobs personally selected Iger to be on the Apple board of directors until Iger stepped down in 2019 and announced his retirement in 2020. 

If the merger had happened, it would have formed a mammoth beast of a company.  Disney’s market cap is $276 billion, making it the 29th most valuable company in the world.  Apple is the most valuable company globally, with a cap near $3 trillion. 

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